Liszt was born on October 22, 1811 in Raiding Hungary. His father taught him to love and play piano and by the time Liszt was 9 he was performing in concert halls. He travelled extensively throughout Europe playing piano and composing. Bye the time Liszt died he had written over 700 compositions.
At a very young age Liszt held performances for kings and musicians. He was taught by Antonio Salieri Mozart's old rival. Liszt could compose a composition from a simple melody and he wrote his first and only opera Don Sanche when he was only 12.
After the death of his father, Liszt turned away from music and began reading art and religion. His reading would become the inspiration of his later compositions. In 1833 and at the age of 22, Liszt began to be inspired by love and nature. He composed impressions of the Swiss countryside in Album d'un voyageur or Years of Pilgrimage.
Liszt gave away much of his royalties to charitable causes. In 1842 he gave concerts for citizens of Hamburg which had been destroyed by a great fire. His personal life was difficult however and his relationship with Marie d'Agoult produced three children, but ended. He met Princess Caroline zu Sayn-Wittgenstein who encouraged him to teach and compose. Liszt gave his final paying concert at Elisavetgrad and spent the winter with the princess in Woronince.
He created a type of symphonic poem or an orchestral musical piece illustrating poems, paintings or stories. It is not sung like opera but uses music and drama. In December 1859 Liszt's son Daniel died and in 1862 he lost his daughter Blandine. Johannes Brahms began publishing statements against Liszt and the War of the Romantics was on. Liszt and Caroline tried to marry in Rome but her incomplete divorce papers thwarted this plan. In 1865 Liszt became a monk but continued to work on new compositions. He established the Royal National Hungarian Academy of Music during this time and work simpler compositions. Liszt died on July 31, 1886 in Bayreuth Germany.